Game Set To Kick-Off, Despite Press Box Fire

By: KAKE News Email
By: KAKE News Email

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October 21, 2010

A fire breaks out at a Wichita High School, burning its press box days before a game.

The fire broke out around 7:30 Wednesday night, burning the north end of the press box.

"The part that received most of the damage was a coaching box, so it didn't have anything in it to speak of. In the main part of the press box we still have sound system equipment, the wiring for the speakers. Our controllers and stuff that run the scoreboard, we had in the main building, so they weren't in there," Rick Wheeler, Heights Football Coach.

What was in that box, is what fire officials said may have been remnants from a maintenance project.

"We had a soft spot in the floor, and they were trying to repair that. We know they used some salt and used a torch at one time to get some tile up. The firefighters think maybe some embers were created in the chamber there below the floor, and they were smoldering, and they didn't realize it," said Wheeler.

The coaches box received the most damage.

The turf, track and bleachers were left untouched.

So were fans, who just 48 hours after the fire started, would have been seated in the stands, cheering on their very own Heights falcons.

"If something like that would have happened when the stands were occupied, or coaches and people would have been in the press box, it could have been a much more dangerous situation," said Wheeler.

The cause of the fire has been determined to be accidental, causing about $20,000 in damage.

The north side of the press box will be unusable this week. They hope to have it in use next week.

Friday's game against Wichita Southeast will kick-off at 7PM as scheduled.

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